NAME: Ohev-Ami Ruth (nee Rizel)


DATE OF BIRTH: 25 October, 1929

DATE OF DEATH: 3 March, 2014

Ruth was born in Germany on October 25th, 1929, to Shaul (Siegfried) and to Esther (Arena) Rizel. In 1933, following Hitler’s rise to power and the rise of the Nazi Party, the small family made aliya to Israel and after a short period in Jerusalem settled in Tel Aviv. Ruth attended the Geula School and studied high school in Kfar Hasidim. She joined the Haganah (Moriah Battalion of the Etzioni Brigade) and on the night of the declaration of independence, she secured the celebrations in Magen David Square.

Ruth was assigned to the position of convoy escort, and after securing busses around Tel Aviv, she joined convoys to Jerusalem for “only two weeks” (so she was told). When she arrived in Jerusalem, she was stationed with three other members of her department in Makor Haim neighborhood in southern Jerusalem to defend the border with Beit Safafa neighborhood. Ruth didn’t know then that “just two weeks” would become forever. Rumors began about the termination of operations in Jerusalem and a descent to Tel Aviv and preparation for IDF recruitment, including foot drills.

One night, Lehi members came to Makor Haim to search for a spy who was operating in the neighborhood. Their entry was prevented, and during the arguments at the checkpoint, one of the Lehi members suggested that Ruth join them. The proposal appealed to her since it meant staying in Jerusalem and not returning to Tel Aviv for foot drills. Ruth told her commanders she needs to go to Jerusalem for a medical examination, and so she went to meet with her Lehi recruiters and then later to Camp Lifta, where she met her husband – Yitzhak, who had already been discharged from the British Army where he served in the 179th Transport Battalion. In the Camp Lifta, she got her own room and served as a medic.

In September 1948, following the murder of Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte, close to 200 Lehi members were arrested and imprisoned in prisons across the country. Among those arrested were Ruth and Yitzhak, who were imprisoned Kishle in Jaffa and later transferred to Acre Prison. During their time in prison, their relationship tightened and the bond between the medic and the camp Commander grew stronger. In November 1948, Lehi detainees were released from the prisons and enlisted in the IDF. Ruth was stationed as a nurse at Avihail Hospital and Yitzhak was stationed in the Artillery Corps.

On the eve of Passover 1949, Ruth and Yitzhak stood under the Hupa and the wedding ceremony was conducted by rabbi Aryeh Levin. In the first years of their marriage, they lived in Mahane Israel neighborhood in Mamilla, where Christians and Arabs lived together with new immigrants and members of the old Yishuv. The history of the neighborhood was immortalized in the book “It’s not the same home” written by Uziel Hazan and based on Ruth’s memoirs.

Ruth tied her fate to Jerusalem. She gave birth to a daughter (Esther) and twin sons (Alon and Ido). She died in Jerusalem on March 3rd, 2014, and was buried alongside her husband on Har Hamenuhot in Givat Shaul. May her memory be blessed.